Texas is known as having a fairly punitive penal code, and a DWI is no different. Under the Texas Penal code, there are actually two different definitions of intoxication: one is having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher; the other is mental and/or physical impairment due to alcohol, controlled substances, and/or illegal drugs. In other words, you could get a DWI in Texas even if your BAC was below the legal limit, if a prosecutor can convince a grand jury that you were consequently impaired.
A first DWI is a Class B Misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $2,000 and jail time of up to 180 days. A second DWI, or even a first DWI with a BAC above .15, sees the maximum fine doubled to $4,000, with jail time of up to one year. A third DWI is a third degree felony, with a maximum prison time of ten years and a possible fine of $10,000.
There are steep administrative costs associated with a DWI. Your driving privileges may be suspended and you will be required to pay administrative surcharges to the Department of Public Service to regain your privilege to drive. You can get an occupational driver’s license and Mr. Morin can assist you with that procedure.
If you need to get to and from work during the year or two years that your license is suspended, you can get a special hardship license, but you’ll have to pay to have an interlock device in your car, which will prevent you from driving the vehicle if you are inebriated—and it could cost you an additional $600-$700 per year.
Of Course, jail time and fines are not the only negative consequences. Losing a job, difficulty finding housing, losing custodial rights, and losing professional licensures are additional potential fallouts. For felony DWIs, you may lose your right to carry a firearm or vote, unless you can secure a pardon from the Governor of Texas.
As you can see, A DWI is serious business in Texas, so it behooves you to have a lawyer who can defend your case or minimize your sentence, should it be unavoidable.